where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2017-11-07 08:38:22  
Young O ' BRIEN wins the Day and the Cup

The 77-year-old Lloyd Williams won a record sixth Melbourne Cup with Rekindling on Tuesday, but this time, it wasn't so much down to experience and guile.

Rather, it was youth that won the day with 24-year-old Irish trainer Joseph O'Brien making an immediate and resounding impact on his Australian debut with the first three-year-old to win the race in 76 years.

O'Brien will go into the record books as the youngest trainer to win in 157 years and also alongside his legendary father Aidan as the first father/son training quinella in the race after Johannes Vermeer finished a long neck behind Rekindling.

To round out a famous Irish trifecta in front of a crowd of 90,536, Willie Mullins' durable Max Dynamite added third place to the second he secured behind Prince Of Penzance in 2015.

He may not have been the winner, but Mullins is taking plenty of Australian dollars home with him as Max Dynamite earned $450,000 while his stablemates Thomas Hobson and the veteran Wicklow Brave picked up $125,000 each for finishing sixth and 10th respectively.

Indeed, much of the international assault will leave Melbourne with heavy pockets after eight of the 11 imports in the race finished in the top 10 and therefore secured a minimum $125,000 pay day.

Joseph O'Brien mentioned several times in the post-race press conference that he was finding it hard to believe that he'd just won the Melbourne Cup with the first three-year-old since Skipton in 1941. "I'm speechless," he managed at last.

And for good reason. The former jockey has only been training for a few seasons and arrived in Melbourne barely 24 hours before the Cup after racing a team in the Breeders' Cup in the US. His father is the most famous trainer in the world yet he hasn't been able to win a Melbourne Cup.

It is just Joseph O'Brien's second time Down Under and it is fair to say this year was more enjoyable than his first taste of Australian racing when he was just 15 years old.

That came in 2008 when his father brought three horses Septimus, Honolulu and Alessandro Volta to the Cup only to see all three race too keenly and finish at the tail of the field.

Luckily, he doesn't remember too much about the trip but he promised he would remember November 7, 2017 for the rest of his life once his mind had gotten around the remarkable feat of a first-up Melbourne Cup win.

"It feels a bit unreal to tell you the truth," he said.

as music industry great Michael Gudinski as well as Bob Ingham's son John and his wife Fran.

Added to the ownership of both Rekindling and Johannes Vermeer this year were Jayco's Gerry Ryan, who won the 2010 Melbourne Cup with Americain, Mark Ruff of Bulla Thoroughbreds and Heffernan Bloodstock's David Heffernan.

Both Rekindling and Johannes Vermeer won't be around in Australia for too long, with O'Brien outlining plans to return the horses to Ireland so they can be set upon a campaign aimed at the Ascot Gold Cup at Royal Ascot next June.

Williams, however, vowed that he and young O'Brien would bring out a team of 'sharp horses' for next year with youth now seemingly the new route to seriously challenging for the Cup.

To underline the apparent need for youth and exuberance, Williams' champion of last year Almandin was never a factor as a seven-year-old and could only manage to finish 12th.

In fact, it was a shocking race for the heavily weighted horses. Topweight Hartnell finished a distant 20th while Cox Plate runner-up Humidor made no impact on the race after settling well back before finishing 19th.

Almandin jumped as the co-favourite at $7 with Marmelo, with his trainer Hughie Morrison's fears that Marmelo might not be able to 'bounce' off his super Caulfield Cup run coming true with the stayer unable to unleash a finishing sprint before winding up in ninth.

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